If April seemed a bit on the cold side to you, you're not alone. The month was the 23rd coldest on record in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, coming in 1.4 degrees below the 20th century average. Which makes it unusual. It was the coldest April since 1997.
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That cold weather wasn't uniform throughout the country, of course, as it never is. The central part of the country was cold, while the West Coast was relatively warm. The weather was also relatively wet, with Iowa and Michigan seeing their most April precipitation in recorded history.
That's all well and good. But the NOAA is not just a storehouse of analysis. It also has a massive breadth of data. Allowing us to do things like present the average January to April temperature for 180 American cities on one map.
Here's what each pin indicates:
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- Pin color: Red pins show cities that had January to April temperatures that were basically normal. Green pins were colder than normal; blue, warmer.
- Deviance from 1981-2010: How many degrees the average temperature differed from that time period.
- Rank of period in history: How this January-April period compares to every other in the city's history. A "1" here means it was the warmest such period ever.
- Jan-Apr temperature: The average temperature in degrees Fahrenheit for the four months.
- Warmth rank compared to other cities: Out of the 180 cities displayed, how it ranked in warmth. The winner, unsurprisingly, was Honolulu.
New York City, for example, was basically on average for the four months. It was the 39th warmest period in the city's history. Of the 180 cities, it was 92nd warmest, which sounds about right. You can see from the pins which sections of the country were colder than normal — broadly across the upper Midwest, for example. The East Coast, New York aside, was generally warmer than normal. In fact, April aside, the four month period was about average in terms of temperature.
But let's cut to the chase. If you like warmth, the best places to ride out the winter months are Florida and Hawaii. Without this map, you might never have guessed that.
Photo: On May 3, it snowed in Iowa. (AP)